Yesterday I jumped on the chance to do our weekly Wednesday Spotlight. I wanted to feature Narrows - my most anticipated artist of this year's South by Southwest festival. I'm unbelievably stoked to see these guys, so much so that I'm going to go well out of my way in an attempt see them twice this week. Besides the shows I'm putting on, I've basically built my schedule around them. After spending my first few hours of actual South by Southwest at a house show with Former Thieves, the sudden anxiety of bullshit sort of rushed over me again, a feeling I sort of repressed in the good times being had the past 24 hours. That sudden rush was an epiphany in a positive light. See, I was at a house, a good few miles South of the main festival, and people were there to see not only the opening locals but the touring bands as well. To them, the insanity of downtown meant so little to them, and it was this more intimate moment that really meant more to such a finite minority. And it's these nuances of South by Southwest that give me an untouchable, unspoken, subconscious hope.
Tonight's Topshelf Records showcase was pretty eye opening in the best way. Besides Topshelf being one of my favorite labels (the showcase also featured acts from Run For Cover, No Sleep and Count Your Luck Stars - community!), it was about all the feelings I had in last year's final write-up that suddenly came rushing back. It's the excitement on both the bands' faces and the attendees' body language. It was the stage dives, the open pits and crowded inside stage. People felt close to the music - they felt like they belonged to something, and probably more importantly, something they deemed as special to them. It was great to see so many people I regularly hold conversations with over social platforms, text and e-mail. Those conversations face to face in a personal moment felt more refreshing than those we have held over a public forum.
At the end of next week I'll probably draw up some rant about how "punk rock is still alive" and everything is going to be just fine in the face of continual mediocrity and the like. Really that rant will just reinforce some sort of status over me that I hold no more than any one of you going out to the smallest of house shows to see your friends' bands open for their favorite touring bands, or maybe even making it into that big official showcase somehow to see a band you've been yearning to catch for some time now. This week isn't about us as journalists, publicists, managers, industry snobs, elitists and trend hoppers alike (they all say he's a righteous dude…) - this festival should be about getting excited for music in the cramped four days. But let us also remember to carry those feelings of excitement and discovery into the rest of the year. Why just give gifts on Christmas? Why only care about a person on their birthday? Cut the egos, put away the business cards and let's all just party, pump our fists, jump in excitement and hell, maybe even stage dive if the venue will let you. Fuck the agendas of this industry, let's enjoy some tunes, talk it over with our closest friends behind the scenes and on stage, and keep close to whatever your tastes in the art may be for the next four days.